“A friend is someone who walks into a room when everyone else is walking out.”
The Maton EM325C – Serial#:14383 (01/06)
I bought this guitar around the middle of 2008. As a mid-priced Maton sitting in the $1100-$1400 price bracket it delivered excellent bang for buck with great appointments like:
Soundboard: Hand Selected A Grade Solid Sitka Spruce
Back and Sides: Queensland Walnut
Neck: Queensland Maple
Headstock: Queensland Maple
Fingerboard: Premium Rosewood
Bridge: Premium Rosewood
Finish: Natural Satin
Pickup: AP5 Pro
Machine Heads: Chrome Grover Rotomatic
Case: Fitted Maton hard case
Fender SRV Signature Stratocaster
Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster
Serial#: SZ7146409 (2007)
The Signature Series Strat specifications can be found here.
The classic deep 3-color sunburst finish, gold hardware, and Pau Ferro Fingerboard are just a few of the standout features of this Signature Series Strat.
I’ve modified this guitar over the years; first it was lining the pickup cavity with copper tape, then it was swapping out pickups looking for a sound that the original Texas Specials didn’t give me. I still don’t think I’ve reached the sound I want but I’ve taken some cues from Anhony Stauffer from Texas Blues Alley and am currently using zexcoils in it.
Fender Standard Stratocaster
The Standard Stratocaster Serial#: US12261669
The Standard Specifications can be found here.
I picked this up a couple of years ago as an alternative to the heavy strings and E-Flat tuning of the SRV Strat. This Standard Strat comes with .009’s as default, it has a 9.5″ fretboard radius and is generally just easier to play.
It’s had its fair share of modifications as well, not a lot, but the pickguard was swapped out and the original Custom Shop Pickups were exchanged for some Signature Series Zexcoils which allow switchable Single/Double coil tones via a push/pull pot.
PRS SE Custom 24
The SE Custom 24 Serial#: Q01130 (2016)
The 2016 SE Custom 24 specs can be found here.
This was the worst guitar buying experience I’ve had. Its setup on delivery was disgusting and it wouldn’t hold its tune for more than a couple of minutes of playing.
I started swapping hardware: Grover Locking Tuners – New nut & new setup from a local Luthier – And still it was crap.
Luckily, a friend of a friend had a long history with SE’s and offered to take a look at it for me. Thankfully, the care and attention to detail Rob put into this guitar payed off. After I got it back it was 100% better, it felt better, it played better, and it stayed in tune better. Thanks Rob.
Fender Squier Stratocaster
The Squier Stratocaster Serial#: S911370 (1988-1993)
This is/was the first electric guitar I bought and it can’t really be dated, even with a serial number. The Fender website explains why.
According to Fender, mine was made sometime between 1988 and mid-1993. As good a guess as any might be that it’s from 1991 (S91), which would fit my timeline pretty well.
These pictures show it in a state of disrepair. I took it apart a while ago with the intention of having it re-fretted, but it was a little too pricey for the sake of prosperity. I changed the original pickups and swapped them for the Custom Shop pickups out of my Standard Strat. I tried to clean up the hardware but some of it is not salvageable – mostly screws, the string trees on the headstock, and the nut.
Poor old thing, lying in its case in pieces after 25 years of life, it’s sad to see it like that after all it has given me. I’ll have to do something about it one day…..
DIY 335-Style Semi-Hollow
This DIY kit guitar was built by my Dad. So much time went into this build and the result is pretty good, I mean it actually functions as a guitar which doesn’t always happen for first time builders.
It’s an arch-top 335 imposter but it plays really well considering what it is. There’s no fret buzz and the intonation is pretty accurate, there’s just a small amount of action increase towards the higher frets but hell, what do you want for $300.
It has some pretty basic hardware and Wilkinson humbuckers. The pictures I took today are not of the final finish either – It still needs its final buff job to finish it off.
Dad bought an Epiphone hard case for it which has a small slanted piece of padding under the body so it sits flat in the case and won’t wriggle around. All in all, a good bit of kit!!
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
I bought this amp a few months after getting the SRV Strat. I can’t find the exact model on the Fender site now, but according to the back of the amp, it’s a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (in lacquered tweed). It’s quite possible it was a limited run, and now the base version is just called Hot Rod Deluxe III.
It’s a 40 Watt amp running a 12″ Jensen speaker, and honestly, that’s about 39.75 Watts to much for bedroom playing.
You can see what it does by the control panel; duel input, channel switching, FX Loop etc. It’s got a lot of beef to it and I love it, but I’ve never had it louder than about 2.5 on the volume dial which goes up to 12 (all the dials go up to 12).
There is a good argument for not hearing what this amp really sounds like if you don’t turn up the preamp enough to get the tubes cooking. This argument is what lead to my next amp purchase.
Fender Blues Junior
The Fender Blues Junior comes in a variety of styles, one of the current styles is Lacquered Tweed.
My amp (not lacquered) offers 15 Watts through a 12″ speaker and due to its low wattage it can be turned up to get the tubes warm much more readily than the 40 Watt Hot Rod Deluxe.
I’ve tried a few different speakers in this amp and am currently running with a Celestion Vintage 30.
This amp is much more bedroom friendly than the Hot Rod but still an overkill for small rooms in my opinion. It’s no wonder some amp makers are offering switchable wattage options these days to suit various environments.
“Like my brother Jimmie says, I play like I’m breaking out of jail.”
Currently, my pedalboard is holding (in order of signal chain):
- TC Electronic PolyTune
- Wampler Velvet Fuzz
- Dunlop Cry Baby Classic GCB-95F
- Wampler Euphoria
- Boss Blues Driver (Keeley Mod)
- Wampler Sovereign
- Wampler Faux Tape Echo Delay
- TC Electronic Hall Of Fame
- Boss RC-3 Loop Station
All powered by Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus.
M-Audio M-Track Plus
This small Audio Interface is great for what I do. It can record mics or I can plug guitars straight into it.
It has a stereo output so I can either record in stereo or I can split the stereo left & right to get two independent mono channels and route them to two independent tracks in my DAW.
All my home made recordings are made with this interface.
Just some common ones:
- Rode NT1A
- Shure Beta 57A
- Shure SM58
Combined press photos cause they are better than my photos.
I was asked what software I use for recording so although this is not physical gear, it is gear I use in a virtual sense.
Here is a list:
For my audio, I record with Sonar X3 as my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I use this for mixing and processing (EQ/Reverb/Compression etc.) all my tracks. I will typically export audio as an uncompressed .WAV file then load it into SoundForge and convert it to a MP3 for distribution.
For my video, I record with a small Panasonic HC-V520M. I load captured material into Sony Vegas 13 for video editing like text overlays or transitions. Most often I’ll use the exported audio from Sonar and import it to Vegas then sync it up to the video so the video and the audio match.
I do use other software that contributes but it’s not as prominent as everything mentioned above, here’s a short list all the same:
Amplitube 3 (Sonar Amp/Effect Modeling Plugin)
Audacity (audio editor)
iZotope Ozone (Mastering Suite/Plugin)
Dimension Pro (Sonar Software Instruments)
Riffstation (Practice Software)
“I believe every guitar player inherently has something unique about their playing. They just have to identify what makes them different and develop it.”